I decided that Atlantis Books on Santorini Island deserved its own special blog post. Because it’s THAT good, and if you’re a bibliophile who routinely gets aroused by the smell of paperbacks and musty used books, then strip off your clothes, baby, this is better than porn.
The shop is located in Oia, the most touristy of towns on the island, but don’t let that scare you away. When I first set eyes on the shop, I fell in love. Its exterior is adorned with paintings of shelves and book love, as well as a guardrail that proclaims the cheeky statement: “Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” Thank god.
Atlantis celebrated its 10th year anniversary this year, after having opened in 2014. It’s owned by an American couple, and run by a rotating staff. You’ll realize this once you’re inside, venturing into the next room, and then suddenly you’re in a guy’s bedroom with a bed in the corner. No worries – it’s all part of the store. Browse at leisure. Take a step back, and observe the beds at the TOP OF THE BOOKSHELVES. This is for the additional summer staff. I’m not kidding.
I somewhat jokingly asked the guy if I could work there.
“Yes,” he said.
You’ll be torn between observing the various fiction and non-fiction titles in Greek, English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, and Dutch – and noting exceptional little details scattered around the shop. The cats, for example. The guitar in the corner. The painted timeline of the shop’s history. The quotes. The unofficial ban of all things Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey.
It was quiet when I was there, but throughout the year they host literary festivals, film screenings, book readings, and more. There’s also a rooftop deck where you can take a book and spend some time absorbing literature while watching one of the greatest sunsets OF ALL TIME.
They even run Paravion Press. In the back shop of Atlantis, its employees sew handmade books to be mailed off to all corners of the world.
Naturally, I bought a book. Sailing the Wine-Dark Seas, by Thomas Cahill. It wasn’t cheap, but it came with an Atlantis stamp and it made my day. They also have rare books here, like first editions. Oh my. I feel faint.
FINALLY: If you’re visiting in the off-season, take note that there are no real opening hours. Basically you show up with the hope that someone is there. I tried twice before it happened – for others, it didn’t happen. Some people get pissed about this. In fact, Atlantis displays a negative TripAdvisor review in its window from a ranty visitor who didn’t like the hours. It’s island time, people. Deal with it.